The NHL Pacific division is one of the most unpredictable divisions in the entire league.
The Los Angeles Kings happen to be in the division logjam with still a lot to be figured out.
Where do they fit in next year?
Once the season begins the Pacific division will again be a dogfight. The Kings sat at the bottom of the standings last season but went out with a bang and a winning streak due to an influx of young talent that brought speed and fresh energy. With the bulk of free agency over and the draft completed did the teams above the Kings do enough to distance themselves from, potentially, one of the hottest teams in the league? No.
The Kings still have the Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick core together. The Kings inserted promising young talented prospects throughout the season and it started to pay off before the league shut down. Gabe Vilardi showed the most promise, followed by defensemen Mikey Anderson and Tobias Bjornfot.
The Kings added several draft picks in this year’s draft, highlighted by 2nd overall pick center Quinton Byfield, and added defensemen Olli Maatta via trade, addressing a need for a left-shot defenseman.
Byfield could make his NHL debut this upcoming season and give the Kings formidable scoring lines. The Kings still have $13 million in cap space to spend with another defenseman likely on the top of their list.
The playoffs seem well within reach for the Kings this year. This rebuild could be a quick one due to the fact the Kings already seem ready to make a splash as soon as next year.
The prospects alone could make a competitive NHL team.
These Kings are not to be messed with and NHL clubs should take notice.
Featured Image: Gann Matsuda/frozenroyalty.com